Congrats head coach Dan Fife and the Clarkston Wolves boys bball team. You finally did it. Final Four, here u come!!. By defeating a tenacious Flint Northwestern team by 3 points on Tuesday night in the school's sixth straight quarterfinal appearance, the Wolves have punched a ticket to the Class A final four, the program's first ever, to be played this fri and sat at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. The monkey is officially off Dan Fife's back. The seemingly impossible has been accomplished and the rabid Clarkston fan base has been walking around in a state of delirium ever since.
I've mentioned in previous blog entries that i am a "told u so" kind of guy. We'll, once again, I told u so. From my very first blog in December ive been hyping up this year's Clarkston bunch as the Wolves team that was going to break on through to the other side. And they did. And I was right. Way to go Dan and his excellent staff for helping make me sound smart!
The road to school history has been in the process of being paved for the last two years. Last season's heartbreaking loss to eventual state champ Saginaw in the quarters - tanking a 5 point lead with the ball in the final 25 secs of regulation -, would have broken a lot of team's spirits. Instead, it strengthened the Wolves' resolve. Learning and responding to the adversity, C-Town's favorite band of hoopsters came out for the '09 campaign poised and primed, and most of all hungry. Running o ff 18 straight to open the year put people on the notice.
Rallying past a fast and feisty Flint NW squad in the second half of their tilt in the regional semi's thanks - coming back from a halftime deficit to win in blow out fashion - to key performances from role players Brandon Verlinden and Luke Prudhomme, gave the team the knowledge that they were firing on all cylinders at the right time. This WAS going to be the year the dream became a reality.
I think the Wolves have an excellent shot at winning the whole enchilada. A match up in the state finals between Clarkston and Detroit Pershing, would be epic. The potential clash of prep powers who each employ contrasting styles of play could be one of the all time great games in state tourney history. Even though Clarkston is far from a sleeper, the showdown might elicit comparisons to the fictional "Hickory-South Bend Central" game from the movie Hoosiers with Pershing being the big athletic urban city school and Clarkston playing the role of the homebred country boys who as Shooter Flack might say, "Chucks'em from the cheap seats".
Pershing would be favored, but I have a inkling that this is the Wolves year of destiny. If senior point guard Tom Staton can effectively dribble drive into the paint and create for his wings, it will open up the outside for classmate and ace long distant dialer, Brandon Pokley, possibly the state's top 3-point bomber. Junior20center/forward Matt Kamienecki must be on his p's and q's all game long against Mr. Basketball Derek Nix in the post and I have a hunch he will be. Kammy knows that a strong showing against Nix will translate into more looks and offers from DI schools and that will be ample motivation to get the job done. Staton will also have to bring his "a" defensive game to lock down all-state junior sensation Keith Appling. When u sprinkle in a little tough as nails defense from Verlinden, Prudhomme, Tyler Scarlett, and Tommy Ronk on the Doughboys speedy guards and it could be an upset special in the making.
I'm going with Clarkson by two in OT. Check back on Sunday for my "told u so."